Saints Who Served

Inspiring stories of holy men and women who served their country.

St. Ignatius of Loyola

St. Ignatius Loyola was born in 1491 to a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. When he was a teenager, he became a soldier and served in several campaigns. In 1521 Ignatius was gravely wounded in a battle with the French. While recuperating, Ignatius Loyola experienced a conversion. Reading the lives of Jesus and the saints made Ignatius happy and aroused desires to do great things. With a small group of friends, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits.

Bl. Rupert Mayer

Bl. Rupert Mayer was born in 1876 in Stuggart, Germany. He was ordained a priest for the Jesuits in 1900. During World War I, Mayer volunteered as a chaplain and served on the fronts in France, Poland, and Romania. He was known to crawl on the ground from soldier to soldier, administering the sacraments to the soldiers. He eventually lost his leg in a grenade attack. Mayer was the first chaplain to win the Iron Cross for bravery.  He died in 1945 on the feast of All Saints' Day.

St. Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was born in 1412 in Domrémy, Bar, France. Joan led a pious life and received several mystical visions in which she was told she would be the savior of France. A national heroine of France, at age 18 she led the French army to victory over the English at Orléans, despite being wounded in the battle. Captured a year later, Joan was burned at the stake as a heretic by the English and their French collaborators.

St. Francis of Assisi

Born in Italy circa 1181, St. Francis of Assisi was renowned for drinking and partying in his youth. Around 1202, he joined a military expedition against Perugia and was taken as a prisoner at Collestrada, spending a year as a captive. After his release from prison, Francis heard the voice of Christ, who told him to repair the Church and live a life of poverty. Francis later went on to found the Franciscans.

Servant of God Emil Kapuan

Fr. Emil Kapuan was born in 1916 in Pilsen, Kansas. He was ordained a priest in 1940 for the Diocese of Wichita. He served as a chaplain in India, Burma, and Japan in World War II. During the Korean War, he traveled with the 1st Cavalry Division, performing baptisms, hearing confessions, and offering Mass on the hood of a jeep. Fr. Kapaun was captured in 1950 and as a POW would dig latrines, smuggle medicine, and give away his food. He died in 1951 of malnutrition and pneumonia. He was posthumously awarded the Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and Medal of Honor.

St. Michael the Archangel

St. Michael's role is the leader of the Army of God and the leader of heaven's forces in their triumph over the powers of hell. In the Book of Revelation, Michael defeats Satan in a war in heaven. He is viewed as the angelic model for the virtues of the spiritual warrior, with the conflict against evil at times viewed as the battle within.